In this chapter, we discussed strategies for better assuring the
SSI eco system functions efficiently and effectively. The eco system in
principle is a self-regulating system that sustains its functioning
indefinitely in the absence of drift. Unfortunately, drift is an
ever-present, unavoidable ingredient of human services agency life. The effects
of drift are exceptions in the functioning of the agency eco system or
in its sub-systems and elements. Our task as agency Managers is to create Indicators
letting us know when exceptions are present. For each element, we develop exceptions
maps to
show us, in an organized way, what the possible exceptions are in
the element needing our careful attention. For each exception on the map, we
create an Indicator we can track so we are alerted when exceptions occur.

There are various types of Indicators including data, Staff
member observation, activity records, external feedback, reports from auditors
and other evaluators, and so on. We create those Indicators and then use them
consistently and continuously. There is no benefit to having an Indicator
alerting us to an exception and then ignoring it or simply taking a wait and
see attitude. We must evaluate its significance and consider strategies to
reduce or eliminate the exception to which it is alerting us. Most
exceptions are not self-correcting

We directly intervene with most
drift-related situations but modify our approach when working with staff
members who are relatively autonomous and function more or less independently,
are committed to doing a good job, and intend to do their best work, every
time. When working with staff members, SSI Managers use indirect approaches,
avoiding command and control strategies, preferring to influence staff members
in ways to enhance and improve their perspectives and performance.

Nonetheless, exceptions require Intervention. Our responsibility
as Managers is to intervene in ways to reduce or eliminate each exception of
which we are aware. Furthermore, it is our responsibility to be aware of
exceptions. We often can anticipate exceptions, and when we do, we have the
opportunity to prevent the exception from occurring. Through Preventative
, we proactively intervene to avoid the exceptions jeopardizing
the agency eco system and its success. To the extent we prevent, reduce, or
eliminate exceptions anywhere in the agency eco system, the agency’s clients
will cope better, will be more successful.